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Van with Sortimo racking

Van operators and van drivers hit by big freeze

Big freeze hits delivery schedules

THE recent snow might have looked pretty – for a while. But the big freeze has hit the bottom line of businesses by as much as £600m a day, says the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB).

Vehicle tracking firm TRACKER says the big freeze contributed to a 32% drop in journeys by business drivers, and significantly hit business van operators.

“We compared the number of journeys across the total fleet of our tracking equipped vehicles in July 2009 and January 2010, which revealed a 32% reduction,” commented Stephen Doran, managing director of TRACKER.

“Our clients’ fleets comprise a high percentage of light commercial vehicles and it is clear that the snow caused a major drop in activity. This would have had a negative impact on businesses trying to make deliveries or provide services, making it a difficult start to the year.”

It was not only delivery firms. Builders were badly hit, too, unable to start or even reach jobs.

The snow came at the worst possible time for the building industry, which is suffering the worst recession in its history,” commented Brian Berry, director of external affairs at the Federation of Master Builders. “With the amount of snow, work just had to stop for those who did have work.

“However, many of our members, who are smaller businesses, were able to divert some trade indoors and to try and be as flexible as possible. But overall, the effect has not been good.”

The FSB says it wants to see discussion between local authorities, transport and salt mining companies, schools and the business community to find solutions to deal with adverse weather.

TRACKER has a free online traffic and travel service, which will help van operators and tradesmen avoid traffic hotspots, especially with the prospect of more snow forecast.

Useful contacts

Federation of Small Businesses www.fsb.org.uk

Federation of Master Builders www.fmb.org.uk

TRACKER www.tracker.co.uk

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